Georgia Court of Appeals Affirms Ruling in Favor of Client in Legal Malpractice Action

The Georgia Court of Appeals has affirmed a lower court ruling denying summary judgment to an attorney in a legal malpractice case. In Duncan v. Klein, a client sued his former attorney for improperly advising him that his employment discrimination claim had no merit. Relying on the attorney’s advice, the client did not file suit against his employer.

The client subsequently attended law school, and there formed the belief that he did indeed have a valid claim against his former employer. He subsequently filed a suit against his former employer, alleging discrimination and seeking back pay. However, a court later ruled that portions of his wage claim were time barred by the applicable statute of limitations.

The client and the employer eventually settled, and thereafter, the client then sued his former attorney on the basis that his advice reduced the wages, which he was able to recover. The attorney moved for summary judgment, which the court denied. He appealed.

The appellate court affirmed the lower court ruling, reasoning that there was sufficient evidence from which a jury could conclude that the attorney’s conduct caused the delay in filing. The court relied on the client’s statements that he would have filed an action, but for the attorney’s advice, and the fact that he did eventually bring an action. The case was remanded for further proceedings.

Decision: Duncan v. Klein


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